blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


For May Day, I’ll post an old favorite of mine, the Maypole song as sung in the astonishing, one-of-a-kind 1973 movie, The Wicker Man. Here, children dance around the Maypole to celebrate the coming of spring, which is another of those magical pagan festivals where the veil between the worlds is thin. Like so much of the music in this movie, the tune is borrowed from an old Celtic song.

I’ve always felt this scene is pivotal, one in which the world of the conventional, pious policeman really begins to tilt. he realizes that on Summerisle, he's stepped clear out of his ordinary frame of reference. 


In the woods there grew a tree
And a fine fine tree was he…
And on that tree there was a limb
And on that limb there was a branch
And on that branch there was a nest
And in that nest there was an egg
And in that egg there was a bird
And from that bird a feather came
And of that feather was A bed…
And on that bed there was a girl
And on that girl there was a man
And from that man there was a seed
And from that seed there was a boy
And from that boy there was a man
And for that man there was a grave
From that grave there grew A tree…
In the Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle,
Summerisle, Summerisle wood.


This fairly sums up the old idea of reincarnation, at least, the western version. Paganism, like Physics, preaches conservation of energy. The expression of a thing may change, but the essence never disappears—especially on Summerisle, which is also the axis of the World Tree and the Back of the North Wind--the eternal green place where Gaia dwells.



  1. Thanks, Juliet. Always glad to know more about the old religion. Happy May Day to you, too!

  2. Your closing lines about energy, reincarnation etc are so beautiful and well stated with a true poet's imagery- thank you.